Volvo XC60 2011: Blend of safety, style and performance

What you need to know:

This is built into the XC60 body and interior cabin materials. It is no wonder, therefore, that it has won a five star safety rating for frontal, side and roof strength from the prestigious European New Car Assessment Programme and American car safety testing agency, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

The Volvo XC60 is a compact luxury cross over Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) manufactured between 2008 and 2018. The XC60 depicts Volvo’s evolution from the world’s car industry pioneer and benchmark of modern vehicle safety technology to an icon of modern car design and style. In its lifetime, it was improved in 2013, with another sleeker second generation released in 2017.

The XC60 is quite the looker. Its exterior design has impressive bold looks with modern bulging but aero dynamic curves. The XC60 is big enough to provide a spacious and comfortable seating room with ample load space for a young family. The practical design gives the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 a good run for their money. Interestingly, the XC60 shares the same platform and engine technology with the Land Rover Freelander built at the same time, as both car manufacturers were owned by Ford at the time.


The XC60’s interior is classy and reminds you of the Swedish Ikea blend of modern style, luxury and ease of use. The floating dashboard bedecks a free standing centre console, which makes the driver and co-driver cockpit airy and spacious, a departure from older Volvo crowded cockpit areas. However, its infotainment knobs and buttons are rather outdated.

The SAT NAV (satellite navigation) and infotainment unit needs fiddling with to operate and looks outdated despite the Bluetooth enabling. The cabin occupants have a high command seating position which provides ample view of the traffic and surroundings while enjoying the supportive and comfortable seats with auto adjusting (front seats). There are ample storage bins and cup holders for four passengers.


This is built into the XC60 body and interior cabin materials. It is no wonder, therefore, that it has won a five star safety rating for frontal, side and roof strength from the prestigious European New Car Assessment Programme and American car safety testing agency Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

It is equipped with airbags all round, optional child booster seats, stability control, antilock brakes, front seat and side curtain airbags as well as anti-whiplash front head rests that come standard on the safety menu. Dynamic passive safety features include the Roll over protection system, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and collision warning/autonomous braking city safety system to avoid collision with other vehicles or knocking crossing pedestrians.

The rear trunk loading space is also ample and practical as the floor flashes with the door lip making it easy to load heavy cargo.


This is blended with comfort. The two more common inline six engines in the 2011+ are the lackluster unexciting and fuel thirsty 3.2 litre naturally aspirated engine with an output of 240 hp. If you are youthful at heart, you will enjoy the sprightly more energetic and fuel efficient 3.0 litre turbo charged engine which delivers 300 hp.

This engine is more fun to drive as you shift through the six-speed auto gearbox and accelerate from 0-100 in 7.1 seconds. Not an F1 story to write home about, but for a daily commuter, it is a chance to catch some weekend fun on the Expressway to Entebbe.

On the highway, the XC60 is quiet and well behaved; you only get the sense of hesitation when you try to push it hard around corners and feel the softly sprung suspension and chassis reach its limit. The steering feels numb and less responsive compared to other compact luxury crossovers.


The XC60’s manufacturing quality is undisputed for the first owner of five years. However, after 100,000 and 150,000kms, some used XC60s have been bogged down with infotainment software failure, excessive engine oil consumption, squeaky brakes with warped disc rotors which cause vibration as you brake at high speed and water leaking around the windscreen.

Parts availability for non-routine fixes such as suspension or body parts can also be a problem. Often, you have to order from abroad as they are not available with local parts outlets. Because of this, the XC60 has a low resale value locally.

2011 Volvo XC60 models

The 2011 Volvo XC60 small luxury crossover is available in four trim levels; 3.2, 3.2 R-Design, T6 and T6 R-Design.

Standard equipment on the base 3.2 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, a power driver seat with memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The XC60 T6 adds a turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, 18-inch wheels, power passenger seat and leather upholstery.

The R-Design variants add 20-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and special styling elements inside and out.